Compressing your audio files

Compressing Files for your church website

Audio files should be in MP3 format before they are uploaded to the website. There are various software that will convert sound files to MP3, but the best way is to originally record the service in MP3 format.

MP3 files are compressed and considerably smaller than many other types of Audio files including the WAV format that are on CDs.

There are a number of free software packages available that can compress (reduce the size) these audio files. The following guide will show you how to do this without sacrificing the quality of the recording too much. Reduced files sizes will make it quicker for your Church to upload the file to the website, and will make it quicker for the user to download the file from your site to their computer.

Preparing audio for the web

Once you have your recording, you need to get it onto your computer, and prepare a file which is suitable for use on the Internet. This will be an 'MP3' file, which is compressed to make the file smaller, whilst retaining most of the sound quality. For speech recording, heavy compression should be used to make a relatively long recording (such as a sermon) into a small enough file to download over the Internet.

One option for compressing your files is to use Switch.

For recording and compressing audio, we recommend the free 'Audacity' audio editor available from .

After installing Audacity you will need to get the LAME MP3 encoder plug-in from the same download page. Once you have downloaded the LAME MP3 encoder, open up Audacity and go to Edit , Preferences , File Formats . Click on the Find Library button in the bottom right hand corner, and browse to the location where the LAME file (lame_enc.dll)is located that you previously downloaded. Select the file and then press OPEN .

Transferring recordings to your PC

Exactly how you do this depends on your recording device. If you use a digital audio recorder like the Edirol, you can plug it's cable in, or put the memory card in your computer's card reader, and copy the mp3 or wav file to the computer. If you have a mini disc with PC interface, use the software it came with to transfer the recording. If there's no way to transfer your recording digitally, you'll need to use an analog audio cable (looks like a small headphone plug on each end) and audacity to re-record the material into the computer. Connect the line output of your device to the line input of your computer's sound card. Use your computer's volume control settings to increase the volume, whilst making sure the level meters in Audacity aren't overloaded. Press record in Audacity, and play on your device. (Stop and play it back after a few seconds first, just to check it's working, then start again and go through the whole sermon.)

Compressing the file in Audacity

Compressing your services using AudacityOnce your recording is made in audacity, (if you transferred your recording digitally, just open it up in Audacity) you can trim off any excess at the beginning and end of the recording, then save the compressed file. To erase part of the MP3, highlight the part of the file you wish to delete and then go to EDIT > DELETE . (Make sure you have a backup of your sound file first)

To export the file to MP3 :

  • Go to Edit > Preferences and click the 'file formats' tab.
  • Change the Bit rate setting. 32 is a good rate to have for audio.
  • Click OK to close the preferences.
  • Click File , Export As MP3 .
  • Type a name for your file and save it in a location you can get to later. You could make a new folder in 'My Documents' for your recordings so that they are stored in one place. It's a good idea to include the date of recording in the file name for easy reference (ie 20070205_Pastor Jim).
  • If you are creating a new file as opposed to compressing an existing MP3 then in the next box, add a title and artist/author and change the genre to 'speech' if you want to although this is not essential.
  • Go and find the file in the place that you saved it, and check it is less than 14MB - the limit for audio files in Church Edit by
  • right click the file and choose 'Properties'.
  • look at the size there. If the file is larger than 14Mb then you will have to reduce the Bit rate and recompress the file.

Congratulations, your file is ready to upload to your website!

See the download section of the Church Edit site for how to easily add your MP3 to your Church Website.
See also - Audio part 1